Hello there. I'm Sarah. This is where I will speak candidly about all aspects of what I do, the shows I've been involved in, and address questions. If there is anything you want to know, email me. If you would like to see it up on the page, or if I think it is something that would be valuable to have up for more people to read, I may post it here (I'll keep it anonymous unless given permission to do otherwise).
2/15/2018 Communicating with me is highly encouraged
Hello there! This is Gears.
I wanted to talk to you about how awesome it is when I get emails or messages from people who have seen my work. It doesn't even have to be positive feedback, I enjoy all of it. I really love knowing how something I made is interpreted or how it touches someone. Even if it's something along the lines of just saying it's interesting or that you think it sucks.
I love to communicate. I use my work as a way to communicate. I have a sprinkling of mental health curiosities that make my favorite way of communication a visual one. I'm using my art work to say things to you. Feel free to say things back to me. I encourage creative communication as well. Music, poetry, drawings, photos, sharing what you make with me. I can't wait to see what people are made of and all the different ways they can say something to someone else.
Please feel free to share with me. You won't hurt my feelings if you don't like what I make, and I love to answer questions.
Have the best day,
2/15/2018 Why it is a GREAT idea to consider buying prints, posters, and other artist branded items
Hello there! This is Gears.
I wanted to talk to you about artist posters and other items bearing the artist brand.
You may have seen artists selling posters for their brand and thought, “That design is awesome but why would I want to get something with their logo or brand name on it?”
Well, friends, I’m here to help you with that question! Posters may seem a little expensive from independent artists and, to be honest, we don’t make big profits from them. Anyone who has shopped around for larger poster prints online (which is where these artists often shop) can tell you that getting poster prints made is not cheap.
What buying prints and posters does is let the artist know about your support for them. Sometimes you can really admire the work of an artist and still not be able to afford to take anything home with you. Buying the little stuff helps the artist know that they have support. Most times they are only making the cost of printing plus a small percentage on posters and t-shirts, but the value in knowing that their work is appreciated is immense. That really keeps them moving forward with the work that you love seeing from them.
Prints and posters are not for everyone so no pressure. It’s just food for thought when you’re out there looking at work from the artists you admire. If you make the decision not to pick up a few small things, drop them a line on their social media or web site to let them know where and when you saw their work and what you think of it. I know I always look forward to communication with anyone interested in what I do.
Thanks for your time in reading this, and I hope this helps when you are out looking over my work and the work of other artists.
Have the best day,
2/15/2018 Schizoaffective Disorder: Bipolar Type
Hi there again! I wanted to talk to you today about a disorder that I have and am being treated for. I have Schizoaffective Disorder: Bipolar Type. This means that, untreated, I live a life full of visual and auditory hallucinations, incredible mood swings, and a very difficult time deciphering what is real and what is not. I've had this issue for as long as I can remember but didn't have a diagnosis. Most of my life I have been living untreated.
Information on this disorder can be found here:
The reason I wanted to talk about this is to help people understand that sometimes people have problems. I'm not ashamed of the issues I have. It's something I live with and have worked through all of my life. It's normal for me to be this way. The people who live with me also have to deal with it, that is what really pushed me to see doctors and find a way to control this better. The bipolar end of this diagnosis was affecting my relationships with my loved ones.
It is not shameful to be different. It is not shameful to see doctors and take medications. I was afraid I would lose the essence of who I am, that my art work would suffer, and that I might just be a compliant zombie. I was so stubborn about seeking professional help, but I was stuck in a rage all of the time. My kids and my partner needed me to seek help. I reluctantly found a doctor and started looking into medication and therapy. I am so glad I did.
I've had doctors who didn't listen to me before and I was jealous of the people who could go through life and be accepted for who they were without having to be medicated. I was angry, self-judgemental, anxious, desperate, and scared. My decision to seek help this time was based on the trust of my partner. I trusted that he didn't just want me medicated so he could deal with me better, he wanted me to seek help because he saw me suffering with myself with no end in sight. I didn't believe him, but I did it for him. I hated him for a little bit for "making" me do this. He was just telling me the hard things I didn't want to hear and encouraging me to get what I needed to be the person I wanted to be. That is what love looks like. I'm glad he was there to push me in this direction.
Medication, education, and therapy are all helping me learn what to expect, and how to handle myself. I'm also able to have a more open relationship with my family and friends because I finally have a way to explain what is going on. I'm still able to work with my art and be creative, and the volume of my emotions and hallucinations are well within workable. I feel human.
I want to encourage anyone else who might be having trouble to consider looking into what ever help they feel is reasonable. It's a hard decision to make. It's a hard life change to stick with sometimes. For me, there is not cure, but there are better coping mechanisms. I don't feel as lost in myself as I did before.
12/22/2017 Featured in Cartwheel for the upcoming Sacrificial Lamb show in L.A.
Join us at Lethal Amounts Gallery, in Downtown Los Angeles, on Saturday January 13th from 7-10pm, for the opening reception of “SACRIFICIAL LAMB,” a menagerie of contemporary taxidermy.
Referencing animal sideshows of the early 19th century and circus “museum shows” which collected real and fabricated freaks, this group show combines the craft of traditional taxidermy with a contemporary focus on including new perspectives in this type of art....(Read more at)
11/16/2017 Featured in Goshen News!
I would like to share a blurb from the Goshen News here in Indiana. They covered me and my work in a lovely article written by Leandra Beabout with great photos taken by Jay Young. I encourage you to click the link and read the full article from their site.
South Bend artist gives new life to broken, dead pieces
SOUTH BEND — As she headed down wooden stairs into the belly of her home, artist Sarah Dolezal said, “Don’t worry, nothing has been killed down here.”
The warning was welcome.
Inside the cinder block walls of the basement, trays of tiny white bones lied next to eclectic collections of old dolls, clocks and gears. Across the room, a semi-deconstructed mannequin stood guard over remnants of antique toys and machinery. It looked a bit like a Victorian apothecary gone rogue.
On the floor, tiny washers and gears sunk their edges into the carpet, where Dolezal sits cross-legged to piece together her creations.
“People call it creepy a lot, but I don’t think it’s creepy. When I’m making art, I think it’s pretty. Or I love the lines,” Dolezal said..... (Read more at Goshen News)
10/17/2017 Anatomy is Our Friend
For the last few months I have been seeing many doctors. YAY! I just happened to begin seeing a primary care physician who really wanted to help me tackle issues I've been having for decades that other doctors didn't want to look into. At the moment I would like to talk to you about Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). This is one of the issues I am currently in physical therapy for but have also consulted a vascular surgeon in case PT doesn't cut the mustard.
TOS is when the nerves and veins going through the triangle formed by the scalene muscles, Clavicle, and first rib are being squeezed due to anatomic defects, injury, poor posture, repetitive motion, pressure on joints, pregnancy, or any combination of these. There are three kinds: Neurogenic (dealing mainly with pressure on the nerves), Vascular (dealing mainly with pressure on the veins), and Non-specific (deals with chronic pain in the area of the thoracic outlet that gets worse with activity, but the cause of the pain can't be found). The type I have is vascular.
For more than 10 years I had been dealing with my whole left arm feeling like it was "asleep" and that I had just smacked my funny bone all of the time with periodic loss of the use of my fingers starting with the pinky and working it's way inward. My arm was tingling 100% of the time with bouts of severely painful sensations of cold and hot. Lately the tingling started to move into my back and I was dropping things and had trouble typing unless I really paid attention. I reported it to my Dr. during a routine exam and we started the tests going.
The first test I had done is called an Electromyography (EMG). This is where a small electrode was inserted into my skin while sensors read if they were working or not. This was not exactly comfortable the whole way through but it certainly wasn't bad. Any time someone is measuring my nerves I know it is going to feel strange. The job of my nerves in my body are to collect data and send messages to my brain. In order to measure nerves, the technician has to insert that tiny little needle into parts of my arm that the nerves are in. That sent a signal to my brain that was not happy, but I understood why so my brain was ready for that kind of signal and didn't freak out. This measured the electrical activity in my arm at rest and when engaged (which means when my muscles were relaxed and when they were tight). According to this test, my nerves had no damage and were working fine. That was super! On to the next one!
Next I had an x-ray done. X-rays look at your bones without having to open your body up to do it. I think that's pretty great and it doesn't even hurt. The x-ray that was done on me was of my chest and included part of my neck. There was a panel on the wall that the technician asked me to stand in front of facing the wall. I had to make sure I wasn't wearing any jewellery or metal so it didn't mess up the way the x-ray looked. I also had to pull my hair up because I have dreds and they make the results from x-rays look funny too. When looking at an x-ray for TOS, doctors were trying to see what part my bones were playing in the issue I have. When I was younger, and had my tonsils out, my parents were told that I had an extra rib in my neck (That happens sometimes). Doctors looked for that and found no evidence. Apparently my bones looked good. That made me question why anyone would have thought I had an extra rib, but test results are what they are and that is alright, firstly, because sicence. Second, because there were more tests to be done.
Around the same time as the x-ray, I had a Computerized tomography (CT) scan with contrast. First I had to go to a changing room and put on a gown. Not a ball gown, or a pretty dress, a hospital gown that is made to make it easy for medical staff to get to the parts of your body they need to access. Then I was asked to sit on the platform while the technician inserted an IV into my vein where they could connect a bag of fluid that hung from a pole on wheels. The technician injected dye into the tube that ran from the bag to my arm. It made my whole body feel warm and my mouth taste funny, but it also made it possible for the machine to see my veins so it was important for the test. I laid down on the platform that slid through a machine that looks like a giant mint lifesaver. The test was very short. The platform passed through the machine just a few times and it was all over. I was able to get dressed and go back to work.
In this test, doctors can actually see where my nerve bundles and veins are as well as bones and muscles.I found out that I have a little bit of arthritis in my neck from the results but it looked like my veins and nerves were ok. I have to admit, I was beginning to fear that I would never find the cause behind what was going on, but the tests weren't over so I just kept going. No point in stopping until I had to.
The next test was an Upper Arterial Doppler PVR PPG.... which is a long way of saying, "Let's see if your fingers are getting blood in different positions". This is a wave form ultrasound instead of one that let me see what my body looked on the inside. Ultrasounds send vibrations into your body and then measure how they bounce back to the sensor. This is the same kind of idea bats use to read their environment. The waves from the transmitter part of the device send vibrations into my body and the receiver end picks the vibrations back up. Depending on the length of time that takes and how much of the wave bounces back from different body parts will let the machine show the technician what my body is doing on the inside while it is moving.
This test also had sensors on my index fingers on both hands to read the way the blood was pumping all the way to my hands. When my heart pumps blood, I can take a stethoscope and hear it in all of the places I have veins. A stethoscope is made just for that reason, to hear inside a body. The way my blood sounds in different parts of my body will tell the technicians and the doctors different things about how well my blood is getting to different parts of me. In this case, it was important to know how my blood was moving down my left arm.
When I arrived at the Vascular Lab, the technician put a sheet on the bed that was in the room, asked me to take my shirt off and then lay down on the bed and cover up with the sheet up to my armpits. She then left the room to give me privacy. The technician is a specially trained human who knows how to work and read the machine they use and could be male or female. It is hard to request a specific gender because it has to be someone who has this specific knowledge. Technicians are professional people so no matter who you get, you should be in good hands.
When the technician returned she put pressure cuff around the top of my arms, the middle of my arms, my wrist and my index fingers. She then attached sensors to the tips of my index fingers that could read my pulse. The cuffs were attached to air hoses that would inflate the cuffs when it was time for that part of the test. The technician took some readings from around my wrist and my neck to see how my blood was moving in those spots and then did some readings by inflating the cuffs and seeing how my blood moved when they let go again. After the cuffs, there was a series of movements I had to do with my arms with the sensors still on my fingers. I found out that when I moved my hand over my head, my pulse completely stopped in my finger! There it was! We found the problem!
Now that there were test results that my primary care physician could use to support referrals to a vascular surgeon and physical therapist, she put those in. Any further testing would have to come from one of them. I'm currently in physical therapy and after just three sessions, I already feel a difference. It's incredible to feel a difference. There is a long way to go but I think this is going to work. If it doesn't then I will have to look at surgery that has been discussed with me through my vascular surgeon. Over all I have done my own research on my condition and tried to keep my provider updated with any new questions I had. I am active in resolving my issues and follow the exercises given to me by my physical therapist. I am keeping a very active in my care and believe in communication. Now it's time to tackle the next issue! Tune in next week (or when ever) for the next installment of Gears' Adventures in Medicine
09/18/2017 Time to Catch Up
Art Beat was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who came out. I really appreciate all of the interest and support. This was the best year for me yet. I have also been interviewed on the website Circus Living (click these blue words to take a look).
This last year or so things have really been taking off. I've been working the last few years on the Art Beat Visual Arts Committee, I have work up full time at Coal Yard Coffee on Bonna Ave in Indianapolis, I spoke about my work at Midwest Museum of American Art during the Northern Indiana Artists (NIA) 75th Anniversary show they hosted for us, helped organize and attend Art Beat along with an Art Beat resource booth preceding the event, and have some submissions in for an event in LA that I hope to get work into as well as working to get into the Elkhart Juried Regional show at the this year.
Some things to talk about concerning event organization:
Organizing events takes a lot of work
- -Please make sure you submit everything on time and with the most up to date information and check spelling
- -Please update portfolio's examples of work are required
- -Communicate any questions/issues you have with your event organizers as soon as you have the question/issue.
- -It is best to use the method of contact provided by your organizer. This will ensure that your question/issue is addressed as quickly as possible. Sometimes it might seem like going straight to the event manager will get your question/issue dealt with more quickly, but usually this is where emails can get lost. Always use the suggested method of communication because that is set up by the event organizers for this purpose specifically. You never know what is going on in the background or how busy an individual can get.
- Feedback is amazing. If there is a survey to take, please take it. It is a huge tool for the event organizers to use for future events. There may be a visitor feedback address on the website of the event that you can comment on as well. It’s always good to hear what
- Any time you send a communication to event organizers, try to give them a day or two to respond. Sometimes they have to talk over a subject before a clear answer can be given. After that, try touching base again.
Events can involve the organizers, the city, and sometimes other factors
- Grants: Grants can dictate that an event must meet specific qualifications in order to receive funds. This may make some decisions by event organizers seem questionable, but they have to do what they have to do to make sure they qualify.
- Organizational Responsibly: Some organizations work year round to accomplish one general purpose. That purpose will be reflected in all of the events they organize (ex: arts orgs will focus on quality of work, orgs that work for downtown businesses will focus on what is good for those businesses, ect). Sometimes an event can be an art event organized by an organization whose focus is what is good for down town businesses. The decisions in creating an event will include and prioritize some things with the businesses in mind.
- Permission: Events need a location to happen at. If they are indoors, they may need to be rented out and will have to adhere to rules that the space requires. If they are outdoors, they may need permits and map approval. For either case, there are requirements, permits, insurance, and other considerations that shape how things work
Organizers always want what they think will make for the best event
- Changes to events that happen on some regular schedule are always being shaped by things from previous events. Over all, organizers are looking for what they believe to be the best event they can provide. Sometimes drastic changes are made, sometimes things are more subtle. Not every change will make sense to every person, but give the organizers a little slack and try to go with the flow if you can.
- Try not to take changes personally. If there are questions, communicate to the organizers in a professional manner with the understanding that more than one person makes the decisions for events for reasons that may not be obvious to anyone outside of the committees involved. For one reason or another, the group may have set rules and requirements that you don’t agree with that won’t be changed. That doesn’t mean that you will not be heard. It just means that the changes are for reasons that are firm for that event at that time.
- Keeping professional communication keeps the doors open for later or different events. Unprofessional communication will discourage organizers from further communications with you. No event has to allow you to participate so staying professional is highly recommended.
Incidents at an event/in case of emergency
Info booths, if available, are good places to go if there is an emergency and you can’t find event staff in the immediate vicinity.
It is always important to stay calm and let event staff/security take care of emergencies and conflicts. They will know what procedures to follow depending on the issue.
If it is a medical emergency remember to make room for medical staff to get to the person in distress, try to stay calm and available to answer questions when they are ready to ask them.
Let event staff and medical personnel take the lead once the situation has been handed off.
These were some key topics from this year and I thought it might be something worth sharing for anyone currently active in events or thinking of getting into events in the future.
as always, thanks for reading and feel free to contact me
07/05/2017 Upcoming Art Beat (biggest art show in South Bend, IN)
It's Art Beat time of year again! It's a big show for me. I make sure I get into it every year. One of the biggest reasons I continue to participate is because it is local. It's really important to me to try to support local art and that includes participating in the events hosting the arts. Without local artists filling in space at these events, the events won't thrive the right way. There is something about local artists giving their energy to events where they live. The people who come to visit these events get to see what the place is really made of. I feel that, no matter how big or small I am, I positively contribute to my area of residence by being one of the many faces of creativity in the area.
Art Beat is huge for us, in South Bend. Hundreds of local artists converge on the city and participate in a day long even every year. This brings in thousands of people who walk through to view and purchase work. It's a real opportunity to meet many artists at the same time. It's hard to beat. It's also inclusive to many different art forms (which I totally love about this event). There are culinary, visual, and performance artists. You will see a bit of all of it. There is museum quality work down to face painting for the kids.
If you're reading this and can come out, please come say hello to me and let me know you saw this on my site. If you can't come to this, make sure you go to your local art events. Artists are amazing people to know. They will notice you in attendance and really appreciate you being there.
12/7-07/2016 Artist Relationships v. Competition
11/15/2016 Why I use LED bulbs when I make lamps
I started using LED bulbs recently and I can say, with confidence, that is what I will be using in the future. The reasons are that they last long, I can now get them in the Edison/antique style (which makes me a happy girl), and they only get just above room temperature. I don't know if you noticed or not, but I work in all kinds of mediums. The prospect of being able to put lighting in anything I want without having to worry about it being a fire hazard is thrilling.
Down side: It is very important that the people who buy my work (Thank you and I love you) continue to use LED bulbs for the things they purchase from me. When I am building something, I am thinking about all of the aspects of it. I think about how the weight is distributed, how it can be installed, what are the things people will have trouble with (a.k.a. What do I need to make sure goes into the discussion when someone is purchasing from me)... Please, please continue to use LEDs in lamps that I make.
11/3/2016 Juggling Traditional Work and Being an Artist
The Cubs just won the World Series. That's a hell of an event. Go Cubs Go!
While the Cubs were rendering last night historic, I was working on a new lamp. It's coming along very nicely. It's made me very excited to work on it. I've been at it for the last 4 days. I'm about $100 in supplies, 7 hours of bead work, a few more hours in assembly work, and time spent on cleaning bones into this. It's great to look at but in the late hours of the night, I wonder if it will sell and if all of this trouble is worth it. I imagine I'm not alone on this. I imagine there are thousands of people up late like me, wondering if what they are creating is going to be worth the work.... So fuels the anxiety wheel that moves many artists along.
I am not a working artist (yet). By that I mean, I don't survive from the sales of my work. I have a traditional job as well as working on my creative work. I have a significant other and kids to spend time with. In order to spend time with the kids I've been trying to work in common use spaces and when they are in bed. My regular routine is to get up between 5:30am-6:15am, go to work, get home and see how the days went with everyone while dinner is being worked on, have that meal as a family and then kiss the partner on the way out as he heads to work. It's just me and the kids until 9pm when they go to bed. I stay up after that to really work on things, bed time is averaging midnight. 5ish hours of sleep should be fine, right? I think so. I 'm not sure my body agrees.
Is what I am doing worth it? Why do I do what I do? People can get a lamp anywhere, what makes this worth staying awake for? I'm sure there are many artists and creative people asking themselves similar questions all over the place late at night. Sometimes I jokingly go over what I need to quit in order to spend the right amount of time on creating and also get to sleep. The options are to quit the family, the job that pays my bills, or making art. I'm sure you can see where none of that is reasonable. Sacrificing sleep it is. It seems to pay off here and there. I'm getting better quality work out there and it is being very well received. I'd want to make things anyway, it's how I manage my anxiety.... I guess what I'm saying is, I'm screwed. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
I want to encourage all out there who, like me, don't give up on what they are passionate about. Keep it up. The world needs what you've got and when you feel really tired and really defeated, reach out. We're out here. We're on facebook and Instagram, Twitter and Tumbler. Be silly with another artist or creative on Snapchat. Connect. Don't give up on the unique fire that drives your true passion. We need you. The world does. Be like the Cubs and keep trying forever, even when it's hard, because you will realize reward with what you do and what you share inspires.
Nothing Gets Left Behind: The Reception
Nothing Gets Left Behind is my first solo show being hosted by the Bucanan Art Center in Buchanan, MI. The reception was phenomenal. So many people came to show their support, express their interest, and make purchases. It turned out far more successful than I had ever planned for. I loved talking about the work with people and seeing the visitors have conversations over the pieces on their own.
Some of the questions concerned my sourcing of bones. I got to explain that I use roadkill and bones I find while wandering around. I explained that I nature clean my bones (local insects take care of most of the work and the bacteria in a maceration bucket does most of the rest) then soak in peroxide to finish it off. If I find bones with a great, natural patina on them, I brush off extra dirt and then coat with polyurethane.
It was very exciting and very well received. I couldn't be more thankful to everyone who attend. You all really made my day.